Advocates Say Some Reading Test Students Were At A Disadvantage

Tuesday, May 13th 2014, 6:58 pm
By: News 9

New information about the Reading Sufficiency Act results as thousands of third-graders wait in limbo about moving on to fourth grade.

Advocates say special needs students and English Language Learners were at a disadvantage. About 80-percent of third-graders passed the Reading Sufficiency test, but now we're looking into who makes up the unsatisfactory scores. We crunched the numbers as some parents and school districts voice frustration with the test.

Some students are potentially at risk of not being promoted after nearly 16 percent of third-graders failed the state mandated reading test. Eric Thompson's daughter is on an Individualized Education Program because of her special needs.  Thompson worries the test doesn't take this into consideration.

"With her special needs, she just learns at a different pace, she is a very hard worker but it won't help her learn brand new concepts faster as she approaches them," he said.

New information on the scores reveals the majority of unsatisfactory scores were made up of students with special needs or students who don't speak English as their first language, about 63-percent.

Of those, more than 3,100 students, almost 40 percent have an Individualized Education Program because of special needs.

More than 1,200 students who failed are English Language Learners, they make up 16 percent of the unsatisfactory scores.

But the state's superintendent's office applauded the work of educators across the state, 3,000 students who would have taken a modified test took another test and the unsatisfactory scores across the board only ticked up by 4 percent.